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The Pocket Paper Engineer Review by Susan WojtkowskiCarol Barton
Popular Kinetics Press
The Pocket Paper Engineer is Volume 1 of a series on "Paper Engineering," or mechanizing paper. It is chock-full of full-color illustrations in a hardcover case with wire binding.
This book and a few household items are all you need to create fun and interactive pop-ups, pull tabs, and rotating wheels for cards, lap-books, scrapbooks, and more! The author recommends having the following supplies on hand: scissors, bone folder (or the blunt side of a dull knife), pencil, glue stick, ruler, craft knife, and a self-healing cutting mat (or thick cardboard for making cuts without nicking your table).
For those who'd rather not cut the cards out of the book or who just desire additional practice, extra card sets are available through the company's website. Each set includes the sixteen cards in the workbook plus two additional cards, packaged in a handy storage wallet. The cost is $14 per set.
Because of the amount of cutting and measuring, I would recommend this book for age 9 to adult. Younger children might also enjoy the activities with parental assistance.
The book is divided into six tabbed sections. For beginners, the Introduction and Directions tab are most helpful. These sections explain basic paper engineering as well as general terms and symbols.
The book not only provides detailed instructions on how to make various kinds of pop-ups but also includes actual cards with printed symbols to make the learning process quick and interactive. Pop-ups are fun elements that can be added to homemade cards and scrapbooks. Homeschoolers will find them enjoyable to add to lap-books, too.
My sons and I thoroughly enjoyed creating the cards together and using the techniques to make our own cards. Despite the fact that I am an experienced paper artist, the book revealed new elements I'd yet to discover. Anyone from the beginning paper artist to the veteran scrapbooker will enjoy the treasures found between the covers of this book.
Product review by Susan Wojtkowski, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, October 2006